Latest Travel Updates Due to Coronavirus

travel updates due to coronavirus

Advice against ALL non-essential travel overseas. Cruise companies extend cancellation policies and delay sailings. Qatar Airways still offer the most direct route for Irish passengers home from Asia and Australasia. 

 

I will be updating this post regularly with travel updates due to coronavirus, so bookmark it and make it your go-to post for the latest travel information. 

Other related posts regarding coronavirus are as follows:

 
Coronavirus: What travel insurance covers:

What to do if you have booked a holiday and are worried about Coronavirus

Why you need to add travel disruption cover to your travel insurance policy
 

 

 

Cruise lines latest updates 31st March:

  • Royal Caribbean, Celebrity, Azamara and Silversea have extended their Cruise with Confidence cancellation policy until September 1st 2020.  This allows cancellations up to 48 hours prior to sailing for any reason. 
  • Norwegian Cruise Line have cancelled all sailings for another month and are now due to resume on May 12th. 
  • MSC announced today, 31st March, that it is cancelling all sailings until 29th May 2020. Guests who were due to travel between 1st – 29th May will receive a Future Cruise Credit of the value of 125%. Guests due to travel before 1st May on a cancelled sailing will now have the option to choose 125% future cruise credit for the package amount or 100% future cruise credit plus on-board credit.  If you are not in a position to take a Future Cruise credit, MSC Cruises will refund 100% of the balance paid on Cruise only and Fly Cruises.

 

Advice against non-essential travel to ALL overseas destinations.

The government is advising against all non-essential travel overseas. This includes Great Britain, but does not apply to Northern Ireland. It also includes all cruise ship travel.
 
Anyone coming into Ireland, apart from Northern Ireland, will be required to restrict their movements on arrival for 14 days. This includes Irish residents. Those providing essential supply chain services such as hauliers, pilots and maritime staff are exempt from this requirement.

 

 

 

Ryanair to ground most of its flights and do not expect to be operating in April or May.

 

Latest Ryanair statement, from CEO Michael O’ Leary: 24th march 2020.

Over the past few days, the spread of the Covid-19 Virus has transformed the lives of people all over Europe and the World. Across Europe, Governments have imposed unprecedented restrictions on citizen movement, starting with flight bans which have closed Europe’s skies to all but a tiny number of repatriation/rescue flights. We apologise sincerely for these disruptions which were necessary, and unavoidable, to help EU Governments limit the spread of Covid-19 to protect our citizens.
 

 

 
As a Group of Airlines, we expect most of our flights to be grounded from Tues 24th March onwards. We have offered our aircraft to all EU Governments, both for rescue flights and to operate essential flights for the movement of vital medicines, personal protective equipment, and if necessary, emergency food supplies. As Europe’s borders become congested or closed, it’s vital Ryanair plays its part to keep vital medicines and food supplies moving. We are continuing to work with EU Governments on rescue flights to return stranded passengers to their home country. In all cases, these flights take place under maximum safety, with daily disinfecting of aircraft, and no trolley service to minimise social contact. The safety and well-being of our crews and passengers is our no.1 priority.
 

 

 
Any passenger whose flight has been cancelled as a result of these Government shutdowns, will over the next week or two, receive an email outlining their options. At the same time as we are dealing with unprecedented numbers of flight bans, we have had to reduce office staff by 50% for social distancing reasons and we ask customers to be patient and bear with us; you will receive email communications in due course. Please do not call our phonelines as the reduced staffing will be unable to accommodate anything but the most urgent of cases, which over the coming days, will be rescue flights.
 

 

 
At this time, no one knows how long this Covid shutdown will last. The experience in China suggests a 3-month period for the spread of the virus to be contained and reduced. We do not expect to operate flights during the months of April and May at this time, but this will clearly depend upon Government advice, and we will in all cases comply with these instructions.
 

 

 
While the immediate future is uncertain, it is important to remember that, like all pandemics, this crisis will pass. Our Governments and health agencies are taking unprecedented action, but they require our support, so by working together we can all help to eliminate Covid-19 and allow our lives to return to normality. In Ryanair, Buzz, Lauda, and Malta Air, we will do everything we can to keep our aircraft, our crews, and our engineering teams operational so that when Europe defeats this Covid-19 pandemic, we are ready to return to flying, to allow Europe’s citizens to go back to work, to visit friends/family, and to rebuild Europe’s tourism industry, upon which so many millions of jobs and families depend. Rest assured that we and the 18,000 aviation professionals in the Ryanair Group of Airlines will do everything we can to support our Governments, our people, and our customers during these unprecedented times.

Together, let’s all take care of ourselves, our families and our communities! Best wishes, Michael O’Leary Group CEO
 

 

 

Aer Lingus allow passengers due to travel before 31st May to apply for an Aer Lingus voucher.

If you are due to travel on an Aer Lingus flight before the 31st of May, you can apply for a voucher for the full value of your flights ( including taxes and charges), plus an extra 10% bonus. So if you flight cost a total of €200, they will send you a €220 voucher.

Request voucher here
 

 

 
Terms & Conditions apply although when you click on the link they do not show on the website. However Aer Lingus confirmed that vouchers are valid for multiple bookings over five years – I will certainly be availing of this option!


 

 

 

Qatar Airways offer more flexibility on new and existing bookings.

Qatar Airways is one of the few airlines that is still operating flights into Dublin Airport. It is the most direct route for Irish travellers who are currently looking to come home from Asia or Australasia.

Qatar Airways also offers flexibility to their customers for new or existing bookings. Customers can change their travel date free of charge, choose to receive a travel voucher for the full unutilised value of their ticket plus an additional 10 percent of the fare cost, or apply for a refund, which will take up to 30 days to process.

 

 

 

 

Ryanair’s latest statements re Spain, and waiving change fees.

In response to the decision of the Spanish Government to lock down the entire country, Ryanair has been forced to reduce flights to and from Spain, the Balearic Islands and Canary Islands from midnight 15th March until midnight 19th March. We are contacting all affected customers by email to advise them of their options and we urge customers not to call us.

For those who are having difficulty changing flights with Ryanair:  Today we are unchecking all customers booked on flights exiting Spain from 21 Mar to 28 Mar and advising them to apply for a free move on an alternative date at the “My Bookings” section of the Ryanair.com
 

 

 
Ryanair expects the result of the latest travel restrictions will be the grounding of most of its aircraft fleet across Europe over the next 7 to 10 days. Because of this we want to offer our customers as much flexibility as possible in relation to their scheduled travel plans. We are now offering customers the following options in relation to their booked flight:

  • Customers can now move their flight free of charge to a date in the future.
  • The flight change fee will be waived in full.
  • Customers will only have to pay the difference in airfare.
  • The flight date change will only apply to the route customers have already booked.
  • We advise customers not to try to change to another date in April.

 

 

 
British Airways and Etihad Airways announce flexible booking arrangements.

British Airways are allowing all passengers booked to travel before 31st May 2020 to change to a new flight with no change fee or exchange their ticket for a credit worth the full value of the original ticket.

 

 

 
Etihad Airways is allowing all passengers due to travel before 30th June the opportunity to change the date or destination of their flight free of charge, use the value of your ticket as credit towards future trips or request a refund if you are due to travel on a route that has an extended period of cancellation.

 

 

 
Turkish Airlines cancel Dublin – Istanbul service

Due to the current situation regarding COVID-19, Turkish Airlines have announced the cancellation of flights to and from Turkey. Their priority to bring all their customers home. Due to this, they will be operating one flight a day TK1975 from today, 18 March until 22 March.

 

 

 

France in lockdown for 15 days.

France’s president, Emmanuel Macron, announced on Monday that the country would enact a 15-day lockdown, prohibiting residents from leaving their homes unless absolutely necessary. Activities like group gatherings outdoors or a walk outside are banned, Macron said. Those who cannot work from home and those seeking medical care will be allowed to leave their homes. The European Union will also restrict travel from non-EU countries for 30 days, he added.
 

 

 

Many more countries impose travel restrictions due to coronavirus

 

  • Czech Republic announces state of emergency for 30 days. From Monday 16th March the Czech Government will introduce a ban on the entry of all non-Czech citizens to the country by all borders. Unless you hold Czech residency, you will not be permitted to enter the country. 

  • Poland places country on lockdown – all Ryanair flights to and from country cancelled until 31st March. 

  • Denmark is not accepting foreign visitors until 13th April. Danish citizens and foreigners working in Denmark will still be free to enter and leave the country.

  • All visitors to Australia must self-isolate for 14 days.

  • Ethiopian Airlines will pause their Ireland operations  from 17 March to 31 May.

  • ALL visitors to Malta are obliged to undertake a 14 day continuous period of mandatory quarantine,  subject to the strict provisions of the law, including fines of Euro 1,000 for every breach. 

  • India have suspended ALL tourist visas

  • The United Arab Emirates and Maldives have closed its ports to cruise ships. 

  • Four islands remain on lockdown in the Maldives: Kuramathi, Kuredu, Vilamendhoo, Batalaa 

  • Thailand has withdrawn its visa on arrival privileges to countries including Italy and South Korea. This may be extended to other European countries.

  • Israel is quarantining all international arrivals for 14 days, regardless of health condition. 

  • Qatar will only allow entry for Qatari Nationals from 18th March, however passengers with onward connections through Doha will be accepted for travel and Qatar Airways’ global network will continue its operation for transit passengers as normal.

 

 

 
It is vital that you check the status of the country you are travelling to as this is changing day by day. Before you think of booking or cancelling a holiday due to coronavirus, you should check the travel advice from the Department of Foreign Affairs website. They ultimately decide against non-essential travel to a particular region (FCO website in Northern Ireland and UK ). All airlines, travel agencies and travel insurance companies use the advice of the DFA before making any decisions about whether to cancel or alter flights, or allow refunds to be authorised. If the DFA advise against travel to a specific country or region, flights will be cancelled.
 

 

 

Royal Caribbean, Norwegian Cruise Line & many cruise lines suspend sailings.

  • All US cruises on ALL cruise lines are suspended until the 11th of April. 
  • Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises, Azamara and Silversea suspend global operations until May 12th, with Alaska, Canada and New England sailings suspended until July 1st, 2020.
  • Norwegian Cruise Line suspends ALL international sailings until 11th April. See more here
  • MSC suspends all sailings until 30th April. 
  • Princess Cruises suspends all sailings until 11th May. See more here 

 

 

 

TUI cancels all holidays and flights until 1st April

TUI is cancelling all holidays and flights until 1st April. In addition to this they are offering flexible payment options. For bookings made from 17th March to 31st May 202o, customers are allowed to pay their balance four weeks before travel. Customers who booked prior to the 17th of March to travel before 30th June 2020 can amend their booking free of charge to any holiday on sale. If customers amend to a lower cost holiday, we will refund the difference in price. If the holiday customers amend to a more expensive one than the original holiday, they will need to pay the difference in price.
 

 

 

G Adventures suspends all tours until 31st May.

Any traveller booked on a tour departing before the 31st of May will be eligible for a 110% travel credit of all land services, including pre or post nights and transfers, which can be used on any tour departing within the next two years.
 

 

US bans travel from Europe for 30 days including UK & Ireland.

President Donald Trump has amended the US travel ban to include Ireland and UK effective midnight 16th March.The ban applies to anyone who has been in Europe within 14 days prior to their arrival in the US. This does not apply to US citizens, however they will have to undergo health screenings on arrival.
 

 

 

Travel Insurance to exclude Covid-19 for new policies issued. 

With effect from 6pm on Monday 16th March 2020, a general exclusion for Covid-19 (Coronavirus) will apply to all new Blue Insurance travel insurance policies issued by travel agencies. This general exclusion will apply to all sections of the policy document. It is likely that all insurance companies will follow suit. Schedule Airline Failure and Third Party Supplier Insolvency will also be temporarily withdrawn. 

Coronavirus: What travel insurance covers:

 

Book Insurance Here
 

 

Aer Lingus and Ryanair waive change fees 

Something that we have all been waiting for has finally happened. Aer Lingus are waiving change fees for ALL bookings effective 13th March at 3pm. The waiver applies to all fare types, all destinations and all travel departing in March, April or May.  

Ryanair will waive the flight change fee for customers who wish to change their travel plans due to the current Covid-19 outbreak. This policy applies to all existing and new bookings from today 13th March until Tueday 31st March. Many other airlines and cruise companies are also waiving change fees. 

 
 

 

 

Walt Disney World Closes all theme parks. Universal Studios Orlando closes.

The Walt Disney Company have made the decision to close ALL of its theme parks throughout the world, and stop all sailings on Disney Cruise Line until the end of March.. Some Disney hotels are to remain open including Disneyland Paris and Orlando.
 

 

 

Latest travel updates for Irish citizens travelling to Italy from the Department of Foreign Affairs:

On 9th March, the Italian government declared that the whole of Italy is now in isolation, as a result of the increased spread of Coronavirus in the country. Travel between Italian regions, provinces and comuni (townships) is now prohibited with the exception of necessary travel for work purposes or emergencies. Tourist attractions, ski resorts, bars/pubs, nightclubs, cultural sites and museums will remain closed country-wide until April 3rd; restaurants and cafés will have limited opening hours and movements within and around comuni and cities will be subject to police checks. Until further notice, and while the isolation measures are in effect, we are advising that citizens do not travel to Italy.
 

 

 
Irish citizens in Italy who are obliged to move around, are advised to carry a self-declaration form, available on the website of the Ministry of the Interior, that indicates their motive for doing so. This form may be requested by police. Everyone in Italy is required to have this form if requested.

At present, airports are open, and tourists returning home are permitted to travel to airports and to leave the country. Tourists should also complete this self-declaration form before travelling to the airport.
 

 

 

Latest travel updates for Irish citizens travelling to South Korea from the Department of Foreign Affairs:

“There is a particularly high concentration of cases of COVID-19 in the south-eastern cities of Daegu, Cheongdo and Gyeongsan which has prompted the Korean authorities to designate them as “special care zones” to prevent further risk of exposure. Anyone resident in either location should pay particular attention to local guidance and monitor local media for updates. For anyone contemplating travel to Daegu, Cheongdo or Gyeongsan, we would advise against all but essential travel”

Advice remains in place against non-essential travel to the whole of China.

 

Note: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links where I receive a small commission if a booking is made, but at no additional cost to you.

 

 

Other related posts on the blog:

Coronavirus: What travel insurance covers:

What to do if you have booked a holiday and are worried about Coronavirus

Why you need to add travel disruption cover to your travel insurance policy
 

 

 
Like travel tips? See more here.
 

 
Sarah

The Travel Expert